Kodiak will play host to visiting Rotarians from across the state of Alaska starting Thursday and running through Sunday morning.
More than 160 Rotarians from 37 clubs representing Utqiagvik to Ketchikan are scheduled to attend the District Conference.
During that time, Rotarians will have the opportunity to take part in everything from Kodiak’s First Friday Art Walk and a tour of the military museum at Fort Abercrombie State Historic Park to a trip to the Pacific Spaceport Complex and a tour of U.S. Coast Guard Base Kodiak.
“I am looking forward to Rotarians seeing everything Kodiak has to offer,” said Kevin Bumgarner, who is president of the Kodiak Morning Rotary Club and publisher of the Kodiak Daily Mirror. “This will be extra special since Kodiak hasn’t hosted a District Conference since the early 1990s, when Senate President Gary Stevens served as the Rotary district governor for the state of Alaska.”
This year’s district governor is Mike Ferris, who lives in Anchorage with his wife, Shannon, where they own Alaska Enterprise Solutions. Ferris picked Kodiak as the convention site this year because he grew up in Kodiak, where he was a wrestler for the Kodiak High School bears before becoming a commercial fisherman with his brothers, Bryan and Darren, and his father Stuart.
“I think you’re going to see a lot of people use this opportunity to experience the beauty and culture of the island,” Ferris said recently in an interview with Tapestry Columnist Mike Rostad.
In addition to plenty of food and fellowship, Rotarians in Kodiak will have business to attend to as well.
Alaska Rotary clubs volunteer in a wide variety of community service projects, from building parks, helping with programs in schools and providing scholarships to working together as a district to implement projects under the “Rotary Cares for Kids” label, where clubs provide the resources for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder education, emergency safe water and advanced economic development programs for rural villages, among other things.
The first official gathering of the District Conference is a luncheon and meeting from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday at the Best Western Kodiak Inn. Friday and Saturday meetings will be at the Afognak Center. The Afognak Center also will host the Saturday night dinner, with guest speaker Rotary Presidential Representative Sam Movva from India. Other keynote speakers include Ronnie Doss of Scottsdale, Arizona, who is an author, leadership trainer and motivational speaker, followed by Dr. Jeremiah Myers of the Kodiak Lions Club. The evening entertainment is Ellamy Tiller & the Twang.
Sunday morning there will be a memorial service led by Kodiak Church of Christ Pastor Brandon Ahrens and final remarks by Ferris.
“I hope the District Conference energizes the members of Kodiak’s two Rotary clubs, and we redouble our efforts to make Kodiak a better place to live, work and serve our neighbors,” Bumgarner said.
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